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How to Choose a Hunting Scope?

Hunting Rifle with Scope

In all honesty, there is a surplus of scope features and functions to consider. For the uninitiated, this may cause more confusion than clarity.

However, always remember that every hunt is different. Each one presents numerous challenges and conditions that can be addressed by different scopes. 

Our tip? Begin with the end in mind

What are you trying to hunt? Where are you going to hunt? Is it an open space with longer sightlines or forested areas with shorter sightlines? What do you think are the basics that you need to meet in order to achieve your goals?

Equipping yourself with a rifle kit that is customized to your needs should not be overlooked if you want to boost your chances of tagging out.

In this article, we’re going to break down which of the USA made rifle scopes best suits your needs.

Ready to bring home some meat? Let’s begin!

Understand magnification and zoom

Your choice of magnification and zoom ranges depends on the type of hunting you want to do. 

Scopes with larger magnification ranges, such as 4-12 or 3-18, offer superior flexibility in wide, open spaces for medium- and long-range distances. 

On the other hand, for densely forested areas, a scope that can be turned down from 1 to 3 power are better since the ability to lower your magnification range is crucial.

How broad your magnification range is will be determined by your zoom ratio. This is because the larger your zoom ratio is, the more you can do with a single scope. 

As an example, scopes that have a zoom ratio of 3:1 allow for a magnification that is three times the bottom end magnification. Our tip would be to find models that can go from three to nine power and/or 4.5 to 14 power.

Another thing to remember is that if you step up your zoom ratio, the more flexibility you get for long-range shots. If you’re the type who uses just one gun for various hunting landscapes, this is the way to go.

Understand optical systems

When comparing scopes, it’s vastly different between inside the store and out in the open field. So, how do you know that you’re getting exactly what you’re paying for when it comes to clarity and optical quality?

Our tip is to go for top-quality scopes that perform well even in low-light conditions. This allows you a ton of precision if you opt to hunt in the early mornings or in the late evenings.

If you’re hunting in challenging conditions, your scope should have an optical system that offers impressive clarity and optical performance. Look for a scope with superb image quality, glare reduction, and low-light capabilities.

Understand your need for precision

Selecting features that improve your accuracy is the next step once you’ve chosen an optical system that suits your overall needs.

For hunters who just want to enjoy the thrill of the hunt and not think of anything else, opt for a scope that gives you the ability to customize your adjustment dial to suit your gun’s ballistics and your current environmental conditions.

A customized system gives hunters the advantage of doing away with holdovers or calculating for ballistics while on the run.

For hunters who want to ensure accuracy at all times, look for a scope with an option to lock the adjustment dial in place. When you shoot your gun, the impact can cause accidental dial movements. 

A simple locking feature can make long-range shooting easier and more ideal, especially for fast-moving, adrenaline-fueled moments while hunting.

Understanding your hunting reticle needs

While all reticles allow you to shoot targets accurately, some factors come into play.

For hunting in forested areas or in low-light, thicker reticles allow you to get a clearer view of your target despite the busy background, achieving more accuracy in the process.

For hunters who want their reticles to disappear into the background, thin reticles are great for not obstructing your view.

For beginners or hunters who want a simple, distraction-free aiming point, we recommend reticles with a perfect combination of both thick and thin posts.

There are usually reticles with thick posts that taper into thin lines at the center for quick target acquisition. 

For hunters who want to take the guesswork out of calculating for the bullet drop in long-range shots, opt for reticles with bullet drop compensation markers. 

Of course, you will need to set your scope to the highest available magnification with this type of reticle.

And there you have it — the basics for choosing your hunting scope!

As with anything in the rifle community, it all boils down to preferences and needs, depending on the hunting conditions and settings. 

We hope that we’re able to clarify some areas of confusion for you and look forward to hearing about your hunting journey in the comments!


More on this topic:

How to Save Money on Your Next Hunting Trip

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